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China tries to dampen fears of more big devaluations

BEIJING (AP) -- China tried Thursday to ease fears of more big declines for the yuan as companies from global automakers to Chinese clothing exporters faced a new era of uncertain exchange rates.

There is "no basis for persistent and substantial devaluation," said a deputy central bank governor, Zhang Xiaohui, at a news conference. Zhang said the yuan is close to "market levels" after two days of sharp declines.

By late Thursday in the U.S., the yuan was down 3 percent since Tuesday's surprise announcement of a more flexible exchange rate. The People's Bank of China said the change was aimed at making the tightly controlled yuan more market-oriented.


2 jumbo phones from Samsung ahead of expected new iPhone

NEW YORK (AP) -- Samsung has unveiled two new Android smartphones with jumbo screens as it seeks to recapture some of the sales lost to Apple after larger iPhones came out last year.

Samsung said Thursday that the new Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus will start shipping Aug. 21 in the U.S. and Canada. Usually, Note phones don't come out until well after Apple's new iPhone models in September.


US food banks struggle to meet surprising demand

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Food banks across the United States are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.

U.S. food banks are expected to give away about 4 billion pounds (1.81 billion kilograms) of food this year, more than double the amount provided a decade ago, according to Feeding America, the nation's primary food bank network. The group gave away 3.8 billion in 2013.


Shopping for back-to-school deals? It's all in the timing

NEW YORK (AP) -- The start of the school year is just around the corner, and you haven't shopped yet?

Don't fret. To get the best deals, it's all in the timing.

Need sweater? Wait until later in the fall. Backpacks? Hold off until late September, if you can.

Of course, some discounters have consistently low prices. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which pushes everyday low prices, has launched extra discounts for the back-to-school shopping period. Earlier this month, it launched thousands of new price cuts, including on the 10 most-searched items online, so an assortment of $12.88 backpacks are now $7.


Sushi showdown: Women challenge one of Japan's male bastions

TOKYO (AP) -- Some jobs in Japan, a nation known for its poor record on gender equality, have been off limits to women for ages. The sushi counter, for one.

Sushi is emblematic of Japan's profound cultural influence globally. It has crossed borders, acquiring non-Japanese...